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Health Education

Eating Disorders


 What is Bulimia?
 What is Anorexia Nervosa?
 Helping Someone with an Eating Disorder
 Men & Eating Disorders.
 General Information for Students
 Information for Educators & Coaches
 Bulimia & Anorexia Resources & Information

 What is Bulimia?

Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by eating large amounts of food or a normal size meal, and a need to eliminate what has been consumed. Most frequently, a bulimic will "binge" on a large amount of food and vomit to "purge" the body of the caloric intake. Other forms of bulimia include the need to "purge" through exercise, starving for days following a binge, using Ipecac to induce vomiting, and the use of laxatives and diuretics to "purge" food and water.

A person with bulimia can be self-indulgent and have a difficult time delaying gratification in many areas. They can be secretive and dishonest by lying, stealing food and money. There may be dental damage, intestinal disorders, stomach problems, and frequently a drug or alcohol problem. Repeated vomiting causes mood swings due to a chemical imbalance from purging. Bulimics feel very isolated.


*Binge eating, twice a week (average) for 3 months.
*Regret after binges, including guilt, shame, and/or physical distress.
*Compensation after binges by purging (vomiting, laxatives, and diuretics) exercising, or fasting.
*Psychopathologic disturbance exhibited by a fear of fatness and perceived distortion of the body.

(from Victorian Recovery)

 What is Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by a very rapid loss of weight, an abnormal fear and/or fascination with food and an obsession with body size and weight. Anorexia also incorporates low self-esteem. There is a great misperception of body size, of hunger, satiety, and other bodily sensations. They are often overachievers, compliant, and exhibit unusual amounts of anxiety, causing difficulty in decision-making. An anorexic will often want to cook and control others' eating while restricting their food intake. The person may isolate more and more by eating alone, by being moody and/or hostile. If the isolation is mentioned by family or friends, the anorexic may isolate even more.


*Substantial self-indulged weight loss (to less than 85% normal) or failure to gain normally, so result is less than 85% of healthy growth.
*Irrational (morbid) fear of fatness coupled with an /intense drive for thinness.
*Body image distortion and excessive reliance on weight or shape for self-esteem.
*Amenorrhea, loss of menses, for 3 months in females or decreased sexual drive in males.

(from Victorian Recovery)

 What Should I Do if I Think Someone I Know Has an Eating Disorder?

Follow these steps from the National Eating Disorders Association:

Set a time to talk. Set aside a time to privately talk about your concerns with your friend. Be open and honest. Make sure you talk in a place away from distractions.
Tell your friend about your concerns. Tell your friend about specific times when you were worried about her eating or exercise behaviors. Explain that you think these things may show a problem that needs professional help.
Ask your friend talk about these concerns. She could talk to a counselor or doctor who knows about eating issues. If you feel comfortable, offer to help your friend make an appointment or go with her to her appointment.
Avoid conflicts or a battle of the wills with your friend. If your friend doesn’t admit to a problem, repeat your feelings and the reasons for them. Be a supportive listener.
Don’t place shame, blame, or guilt on your friend. Do not use accusatory “you” statements like, “You just need to eat.” Or, “You are acting irresponsibly.” Instead, use “I” statements like, “I’m concerned about you because you refuse to eat breakfast or lunch.” Or, “It makes me afraid to hear you vomiting.”
Avoid giving simple solutions. Don’t say, "If you'd just stop, then everything would be fine!"
Express your continued support. Remind your friend that you care and want her to be healthy and happy.

 External Informational for Bulimia & Anorexia Resources

Information Resources:

* National Eating Disorders Association

* Women's Health -Anorexia

* Women's Health -Bulimia

* Eating Disorder Referral & Information Center


Recovery Resources:

* Sober Living by the Sea Treatment Centers

* Sunrise Recovery Ranch

* Drug & Alcohol Recovery Treatment Center Directory

* The Reach Foundation

* Recovery Resources Online

* Links to Multiple Other Sites & Services

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